After last night’s press conference offensive against the Post-Standard, Jim Boeheim chose this afternoon to continue unloading on the media with The Danny Parkins Show on The Score 1260. While the postgame podium could be excused as an emotional moment after a desperately needed victory, The Per’fesser’s thoughts on sportsradio today could not.
Boeheim is smart. Really smart. And he understands what’s he’s engaged in. Over the course of a 21-minute interview The Per’fesser laid into general media coverage of his program, the Post-Standard, sportstalk radio hosts, callers and letters to the editor. Whew. Now that’s a bucket list.
Donna Ditota and Mike Waters can breathe a sigh of relief. This is no longer just about them. He cited Parkins’ questioning of his substitution patterns, the suggestion he’s too old and the overall tenor of “articles that are written. And some things that aren’t written.”
He didn’t back down from his assertion Ditota should’ve known John Beilein’s record against him, but denied telling her “Well, then you don’t know your business.” Which he very clearly did. Audibly. Into a microphone. Which is archived at the Syracuse athletics website.
And after all the griping (some fair, some not) about negative press in town, Boeheim insisted it’s not a sweeping problem.
“I’m covered very fairly. That was one thing. This is one thing. I’ve always been covered fairly here. But most of my friends in the business think I’m covered unfairly here.”
“But that’s okay. I have no problem with it. I have absolutely no problem with it. I don’t want credit. I never have. I want the player to get the credit. I’ll take the blame. That’s what I get paid for. Blame doesn’t bother me as long as it’s done correctly.”
Seems like an odd moment then to spend a postgame press conference after a win and twenty minutes on sportstalk the next afternoon to caterwaul about media coverage if he’s “always been covered fairly here.” And very obviously Boeheim is lying when he says “I have no problem with it.” That’s why we’re here in the first place.
College basketball coaches of his stature are indeed in an odd position. They are deified by local media, fans and alum because college athletics is a different beast. “They’re our boys! Go State! It’s my alma mater!” They’re also Lords of Very Small Manors; college town, USA. Professional coaches deal with the glare of highly-populated urban cities with the crush of multiple media outlets. Boeheim deals with one newspaper, two radio stations and a handful of television reporters. Not exactly Tom Coughlin on trial.
So criticism stings worse for them because it comes from home, a place that’s normally safe. For Boeheim, criticism stings worse because he allows it to and always has. For all the wins, all the awards, all the accolades – The Per’fesser still listens to the negativity. All of it.
Maybe it’s a character flaw. Maybe it helps drive him. Maybe this is just another “Gerry McNamara’s overrated” blowup to help bond an underachieving team on the brink. But while listening to Boeheim spar today with Parkins in a sublime example of sportsradio’s impact, it struck me as beneath JB to worry about this stuff. Why does a guy with 850 wins, Final Fours, a title and ultimate job security care what Tom in Mattydale thinks? Doesn’t he hear the 33,000 adoring fans every night at the Dome?
Apparently, not often enough.